116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
SOLON — Hayden Taylor faced a difficult dilemma.
Solon’s three-time state champion had to choose between enduring pain to become part of a hallowed group of Iowa wrestlers and missing the season due to shoulder surgery that would allow him to heal before college.
“It really sucks,” Taylor said in a phone interview with The Gazette Wednesday afternoon. “It’s definitely a hard decision to make.”
Taylor confirmed media reports that he will forgo his senior season and a chance to join the 29 four-time state tournament champions because of injury. His career ended with 144-2 career record and 112-match win streak.
“He tried everything he could to go and he went through some painful practices,” Solon co-head coach T.J. Bevans said. “We support him. It’s the best for him.”
Taylor originally injured his right shoulder during football in 2020. He persevered last season, posting a 39-0 record and winning the Class 2A 160-pound title. Taylor had his first surgery in March.
Shoulder issues resurfaced in practice. Taylor’s shoulder popped out of place while drilling. He said clearing the windshield of his car one morning made it clear he wouldn’t be able to safely compete.
“I was trying to get back into it and tried to make the most of it,” Taylor said. “I’m just trying to get it healed and surgery was the best way to do that.”
Bevans said that Taylor’s disappointment didn’t just revolve around individual title pursuits. Taylor said he plans to remain around the team, sharing his knowledge, support and leadership.
“It’s definitely a big blow for him and for us,” Bevans said. “The team aspect was just as hard on him. Hayden has been a team guy.”
Taylor won state titles at 126 and 145 his first two seasons. In addition to his flawless record at state, he is a two-time Wamac Conference champion. The move was necessary to fix and heal his shoulder and avoid possible permanent damage that would derail competing at the next level.
“I want to wrestle in college,” Taylor said. “I haven’t sat down and narrowed down my options. It’s still open.”
Linn-Mar was one of 33 teams that participated in the Dan Gable Donnybrook tournament Friday and Saturday. The Lions finished 12th overall, receiving a runner-up performance from 170-pounder Tate Naaktgeboren and thirds from Kane Naaktgeboren and Luke Gaffney at heavyweight.
Linn-Mar ended the tournament ranked second in total pins. The Lions recorded 22 falls, finishing three back of Chicago’s Mount Carmel High School. Kane Naaktgeboren led the way with four pins. Tate Naaktgeboren and 145-pounder Grant Kress each had three.
Thursday’s Metro schedule will include three home duals. Cedar Rapids Prairie hosts Cedar Falls. Waterloo East travels to Cedar Rapids Jefferson. Cedar Rapids Kennedy welcomes Waterloo West.
At Prairie, the 2005-06 team will be honored. The Hawks posted an unbeaten regular season in duals, won the Mississippi Valley Conference dual crown and a district team title, qualifying seven to state with four medalists, including Class 3A 140-pound champion Phil Sexton. They also earned a runner-up state duals finish.
Iowa City will be busy as well. Iowa City High hosts Cedar Rapids Washington, Western Dubuque wrestles at Iowa City Liberty and Iowa City West faces Dubuque Senior at home.
Among local tournaments Saturday are the Mount Vernon Invitational, North Cedar Invitational, South Tama Duals, Bobcat Duals in Epworth and Maquoketa’s Zimmerman Invitational, featuring both boys’ and girls’ competition.